WINDY CITY TIMES
||OPINION Renewing state's Invest in Kids program is investing in anti-LGBTQ+ hate
by Brian C. Johnson
This article shared 3238 times since Mon Oct 23, 2023
In February 2020, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield warned transgender students in the Diocese's educational system that they "may be expelled from the school" if they live their lives authentically. Lansing Christian School in Lansing, Illinois "reserves the right to refuse admission of an applicant" with a "a parent…practicing a homosexual identity or alternative gender identity." STUDYS Christian Academy in Lindenhurst "does not accept students who are homosexual."
Like all religious schools, these institutions are legally allowed to discriminate against queer students and families, and are exempt from the state's rules protecting students from bullying. Alarmingly, such institutions also benefit from state subsidization through the Invest in Kids program.
In fact, according to Illinois Families for Public Schools, about 95% of private schools subsidized through Invest in Kids are religious. These same institutions are legally allowed to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students and their families.
I taught first graders in the Baton Rouge public school system. I witnessed firsthand the inequalities in state funding for public schools. I want a world where public education is fully funded and equipped to meet the diverse needs for all students, promoting an environment of acceptance, tolerance and equality. I also understand and support when individual families need to make decisions about schools that are in the best interest of their kids. Reasonable people can disagree on policy regarding public and private schools.
However, Illinois residents should not have to subsidize institutions that promote hate against LGBTQ+ people and exclude LGBTQ+ students and families from being their authentic selves. This is why Equality Illinois emphatically opposes any extension by the Illinois General Assembly of the Invest in Kids program. The State of Illinois can't say it values equality and inclusion when it simultaneously requires families like mine to help subsidize schools that hate us.
Brian C. Johnson is CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for LGBTQ+ people.
This article shared 3238 times since Mon Oct 23, 2023
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